Russian troops seize eastern village after Ukrainian forces retreat

A German former soldier will go on trial today accused of spying for Russia, as Berlin faces a surge in Moscow-linked espionage cases amid the Ukraine war.

The suspect, identified only as Thomas H, was arrested in August last year in the western city of Koblenz.

He is accused of passing information to Russian intelligence services that he obtained while working in the procurement unit of the German military, or Bundeswehr.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in early 2022, Germany – the second-largest supplier of military aid to Kyiv – has seen a jump in alleged spying cases linked to Moscow.

Thomas H. had been a career soldier, working at the army’s Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support Department.

In May 2023, the suspect “approached the Russian general consulate in Bonn and the Russian embassy in Berlin and offered his cooperation”, prosecutors said in a statement when he was arrested. “In the process, he passed on information he had obtained in the course of his professional activities for it to be passed on to a Russian intelligence service.”

After his arrest, media reports suggested he had access to sensitive information as the department he worked in counted among its tasks the procurement of highly modern systems for electronic warfare.These included technology for the surveillance and disruption of opponents’ radio systems and the shutting down of enemy radio or airshield systems.

Thomas H. faces charges of being an intelligence agent and violating rules on official secrecy. He is standing trial in the western city of Duesseldorf, with hearings set to last until late June.

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